We are great at overthinking things. For instance, it took me two whole months to determine that the name of my consulting firm should be...you guessed it...MY NAME. Or, how about the 20 minutes I spent at Publix yesterday determining which $4.23 bottle of shampoo was really the best ("Is Suave's professional line really as good as Bumble & Bumble? The first three ingredients in Dove are the same as Aveda, but will it smell as good?").
Don't lie. You've been there too! And like me, you have likely over-thought learning and development, HR, or leadership solutions at work as well. The truth is many times the best solutions are the simple ones staring us directly in the eye. The solution is so close to us, we simply can't see it.
To that end, I believe one of the most powerful training and development methods we overlook when creating our talent development strategy is the basic, simple (and free) employee 1-on-1.
A 1-on-1 is a regularly scheduled meeting between a manager and an employee to discuss goal attainment, professional development and how the leader can remove obstacles to success. Super easy, yet woefully underutilized as a talent development strategy. Why? Many simply don't think about that interaction as a piece of the larger development puzzle. Trainers think 1-on1s are a management thing. Managers think the 1-on-1 is a simple "how you doing?" with the employee.
But they couldn't be more wrong. Three reasons why 1-on-1's should be the start of your L/D strategy:
- The purpose of training has changed. In days past, training an employee was a bit more tactical in nature. Training usually centered around training the employee on a compliance measure, a new tool or a company initiative. Now, the purpose of training has expanded to include connecting employees to their purpose, to aid in attracting new business, and to ensure top performers are retained.
- You can't outsource connection! There is no one more influential to an employee than their direct supervisor. Period. The more often supervisors and employees meet to discuss development in a 1:1 setting, the more trust is built. The more trust gained, the more truthful an employee will be about what they need developed.
- It's the best place to do a needs assessment. So many learning and development programs start with a needs assessment of some type. If a supervisor is already conducting regular 1-on-1s, especially to the point where trust is built, the needs assessment is already complete!
So, as you begin to put together a 12-page learning and development strategy guide for your organization, reserve page one to be the simple, powerful, and free manager-employee 1-on-1.